Students lack of 'discipline and order' after lockdown, says Gavin Williamson

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BlinkyBill
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Earlier this week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson shared his thinking that lockdown has lead to a lack of discipline and order in students, which will 'inevitably' lead to poor behaviour. He's said he'll back things like mobile phone bans, in favour of 'good old fashioned' exercise, and wants schools to take 'firm action' on consistent bad behaviour. The Department for Education have now launched their £10 million 'Behaviour Hub' project, highlighting the behaviour programmes of 22 lead schools and working together to help those schools that may be struggling with student behaviour.

But there's been pretty significant backlash. Education Unions and teachers have said Gav 'hasn't done his homework' when it comes to student behaviour, with head teachers reporting behaviour has never been better. The National Education Union has said mental health and curriculum pressures actually have the biggest impact on behaviour. And TES has criticised his approach for neglecting the needs of neurodiverse students, calling the discipline drive 'discrimination' (you can share your thoughts on this specifically here).

So what do you reckon? Is he right?

Has it been bedlam in your school since going back? Or are students glad to be back in the classroom and behaving well? Has much changed since before the pandemic in terms of behaviour?

Do you think things like mobile phone bans and strict behaviour policies are helpful?

Are there other pressures you think impact behaviour?

Are there other solutions you think could help with behaviour?
Last edited by BlinkyBill; 3 weeks ago
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04MR17
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I think mobile phone bans is an isolated debate and we should be careful about getting too deep into that within a thread on a broader issue.

I have noticed some students in my classes have settled down and are working (and behaving) much better than they used to. Their enthusiasm for learning and for my subject is significantly different to when I last saw them in-person before Christmas.

Equally, for some of my pupils returning to in-person education has left them feeling behind because they did not (for whatever reason) apply themselves over the January/February remote learning period. This has resulted in more behaviours designed to distract others and make themself look deliberately dumb to hide the fact that they don't know what I am talking about due to the work they missed out on.

So ultimately, it really depends on the child. It's certainly true that being out of a routine is going to take some adjusting for our pupils. But forcing schools to follow a Doug Lemov instruction manual isn't going to help much either.

There is another big driving factor of behaviour and that's anxiety about covid. I have lots of pupils who have lost loved ones to the virus and are concerned about being in the school environment. This will mean that they can get easily upset, angry, confrontational or emotional.
Last edited by 04MR17; 3 weeks ago
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ThomH97
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I'd probably ban phones anyway. If your parents need to contact you they can ring the school, and kids could do with some time away from all that social media. They are a distraction, both in class (I accept that some teachers do get kids to use various apps in class to participate) and the playground.

Exercise has long been sidelined in schools. If it's some misguided idea about behaviour that swings it rather than the obvious health issues, then so be it.

Obviously Williamson (or anyone) won't have a policy that suits all students in all schools, but it is a good thing he's throwing ideas around. It takes a bit of pressure off any schools who feel they need to do something radical but were worried about backlash - Williamson can take the brunt of it for them!
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V℮rsions
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I back Gavin this time.
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Krsto
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(Original post by V℮rsions)
I back Gavin this time.
Maybe for the first time haha
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barnet1471
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A government could set an example by their behaviour. Turning up on time for press conferences and debates in the House of Commons, being smartly dressed, combing your hair, and as Theresa May was prepared to do and did when Prime Minister, sacking those who fail to meet reasonable standards.

On the matter of mobile phones, I agree with a ban in the classroom. Also supportive of parents who seek no phones overnight in bedrooms.
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Rufus the red
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I haven't noticed much difference at my school but it already has policies which are rather on the strict side compared with most schools (no phones, detention for forgetting equipment whenever it occurs). This may diverge a little from the point but I'd argue that teachers are much better at dishing out punishment for mistakes (forgetting a pen/book) than being anti-social in an unpleasant manner (there were some yobs kicking footballs quite hard towards other groups of people before we broke up for easter who weren't seen as there weren't any teachers nearby where there really should've). I'd blame that on teachers not being proactive enough when it comes to monitoring what goes on outside of the classroom.

- I haven't noticed many problems in the classroom, but more outside.
- Teachers need to do more outside of the classroom.
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04MR17
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(Original post by V℮rsions)
I back Gavin this time.
Never expected to see this on a student website to be honest
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Sandtrooper
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Take my opinions with a pinch of salt, as I haven't been to school in a few years, but, as someone who attended a very strict, academically focussed school, with many of these policies in place, I will say that mobile phone policies etc do very much help with learning. My sibling is still at school and said the behaviour was worst in the lockdown before Christmas, and has only been a little better since returning recently.
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Oceanwater
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A lot of other students in my 6th form are behaving well just like before. That's mostly because we've had a majority of our school days at home due to many covid quarantines because of cases as well as lockdown. We know that we're pretty disadvantaged compared to other students so we have to pay attention and do our best in class. Especially because teachers are assessing us and not examiners this year for AS so we have to be nice.

In my secondary school, nothing major has changed but I guess there are a lot more cases and instances of students acting out compared to pre-lockdown. I'd say that this is because the area has gotten a lot worse (it's mostly low-income households along with a few lower middle-class families) so it's been badly affected by the whole Covid situation.
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laurawatt
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You can definitely tell that quite a few students have spent the year on TikTok by the way they interact, both irl and on TSR I wouldn’t say it’s worse, just different, verging on immature, and could be confusing or easily misunderstood as rude by those who don’t communicate in that way i.e. teachers
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barnet1471
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I expect some children have used lockdown as an excuse for behaviour, claiming mental health issues no doubt. Difficult for teachers to tell real mental health issues from those faked, no doubt.
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Krsto
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(Original post by barnet1471)
I expect some children have used lockdown as an excuse for behaviour, claiming mental health issues no doubt. Difficult for teachers to tell real mental health issues from those faked, no doubt.
I think there are also plenty who are just tired of lockdown and are eager to get on with their education, probably more so with gcse and a level students
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MKaur18
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(Original post by Krsto)
I think there are also plenty who are just tired of lockdown and are eager to get on with their education, probably more so with gcse and a level students
Yeah, true that
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Asha_m
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Mobiles are not the cause of distractions in the class. In my school, we give them to our tutors at the beginning of the day and collect it at the end, but we still saw a rise in bad behaviour. In one english lesson I had, around six-seven pupils were sent to the removal room for disrupting the class continuously. However, I do know some people who attended online lessons, turned their camera off after registering and went on TikTok for the remainder of the day.
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BlinkyBill
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(Original post by Oceanwater)
A lot of other students in my 6th form are behaving well just like before. That's mostly because we've had a majority of our school days at home due to many covid quarantines because of cases as well as lockdown. We know that we're pretty disadvantaged compared to other students so we have to pay attention and do our best in class. Especially because teachers are assessing us and not examiners this year for AS so we have to be nice.

In my secondary school, nothing major has changed but I guess there are a lot more cases and instances of students acting out compared to pre-lockdown. I'd say that this is because the area has gotten a lot worse (it's mostly low-income households along with a few lower middle-class families) so it's been badly affected by the whole Covid situation.
Super interesting point about behaviour in relation to teachers having a more hands-on role in grading this year. Do you think that's something a lot of kids are thinking about?
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Kumaa1995
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I can agree that to a degree students do have some discipline and order issues when using phones in the classroom. But in the same vein, I think students should be taught about using technology responsibly and for benefit. All outright banning them does is deny this opportunity I believe which is detrimental to their learning. Not only because they aren't being taught responsible use, but nor are teachers having the opportunity to properly harness this in their lessons. I think given we're moving more and more to a digitalized and technologically advanced society is crucial, especially when it comes to responsible use; going beyond the typical social media, and using it to complement and facilitate learning in the classroom. Or at the very least trying to encourage this.

Again, students aren't really being taught responsible use of technology, and nor are they being taught not to use technology for cyberbullying. Students that engage in this will only continue to do so in their spare time anyway. If they cannot do this during lessons, then they will only resort to other outlets for their behavior, be it outright verbal bullying, physical, or just otherwise being distracting for other students.
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Oceanwater
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(Original post by BlinkyBill)
Super interesting point about behaviour in relation to teachers having a more hands-on role in grading this year. Do you think that's something a lot of kids are thinking about?
Definelty! I think we know that our teachers, whether they're aware of it or not, are probably gonna be more willing to give us good grades if we behave well.

For example, with one of my teachers, they want the sturcture of a 10 marker to be like the sturcture of a 20 marker which means that in the real exam, we wouldn't have enough time to complete the paper. Despite this, I'm trying to cater to what they believe is worth an A grade because they're now in charge of giving me both my predicted grades and my actual exam final AS grade.
Last edited by Oceanwater; 3 weeks ago
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proxa
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Banning mobile phones is not necessary.
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proxa
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No point banning them, what will it achieve?
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